The Canucks Soap Opera Continues

As the World turns, it seems that the Vancouver Canucks Organization isn’t turning with them.

Instead, the situation has become somewhat stagnant for the last few weeks that the Canucks have really put themselves in a precarious situation.

First of all, in an unprecedented “trade” of sorts, the Canucks and New York Rangers swapped Alain Vigneault and John Torterella. Torts as he is affectionately called comes with some form of baggage. He has admitted that he was at fault for the horrendous end to his tenture in New York, and promises to be a different coach when it comes to media relations and dealing with the crop of Canuck players he’s inheriting. Good luck, Torts.

Secondly, the Canucks goaltending saga has come to an end, or has it? In a shocking move at the 2013 NHL Draft, Cory Schneider was traded away to the New Jersey Devils for their 9th overall draft pick. They selected Bo Horvat from the OHL’s London Knights. Only time will tell whether or not this pick will pay off after sending off a potential future goalie to a team that may be needing one (after the subsequent retirement of the great Martin Brodeur.) While that has happened Roberto Luongo, who has been through the ringer and back with the Canucks, the same team that has chewed him, spit him out, and is now begging  for forgiveness, isn’t talking. But only if it’s about poker.

And lastly, the Free Agent Frenzy came and went without much of a hiccup in Vancouver’s corner. While many of the big names were being transacted, the Canucks were only able to acquire…who?

Brad Richardson? Sure, he is a proven champion, but could he really have been a true contributor during that amazing Stanley Cup run with the Los Angeles Kings over a year ago? He might add some depth but only on the second or third line at centre, however may move up to second if Ryan Kesler goes down.

Yannick Weber. Ummm, okay. Again, another dependable guy with some experience from Montreal who is going to sit low on the defensive depth chart just like he was with the Canadiens.

And while the Canucks have been hampered with cap-space restrictions, other teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings (in signing Daniel Alfredsson) and even the Edmonton Oilers have bought out significant contracts (with apologies to Keith Ballard’s buy-out) and made room for major signings. While there is still room for improvement in all facets of the Canucks offense and defense (coaching and goaltending seems to be covered), the inability to sign free agents can only be hampered by one thing…yes, that contract which “sucks”.

But there is one good news for the Canucks short future: A Heritage Classic against the Ottawa Senators…if you can call it winter at B.C. Place Stadium.

So what to make of the Canucks in this ongoing soap opera? Not much, these days. Come on, it’s the summer. Everyone should be focused on attending outdoor concerts, enjoying the beer gardens and burning some bonfires to pass the brief summertime away. A few will spend the summer with the Cup in-tow…

(Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)

Patrick Sharp will be spending the summer with this piece of hardware (Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)

A Lesson from Lou Holtz

If anyone believes that Tortorella is going to change his ways from his fiery days at Tampa and New York, then he may have to take some valuable lessons from Lou Holtz. If you don’t know Lou, he was a successful college football coach & current motivational speaker who has brought teams from the brink and have made them Bowl champions within the next one to two seasons.

From his inspirations, Lou offers three important rules to set by and how Torts (and Canucks management & players) should follow:

1. Do what’s right

Torts is correct in offering the Canucks a blank, clean slate. If he didn’t the Canucks might not have given him a second look. Torts will have to looks at who he’s got, figure out each player’s key strengths and weaknesses, and build a playbook from training camp onward so that the Canucks could prove their doubters wrong, that they won’t blow up their season even before it starts come October.

“Attitude starts with you and me.” – Lou Holtz

John Tortorella

John Tortorella must do the right thing if he wants the Canucks to be relevant again (James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE)

2. Do the best you can

The Canucks Prospects Camp was a good way to forget about that terrible shortened season and start fresh. In getting some new talent in the likes of Bo Horvat and Jordan Subban, the Canucks realize that their future must built from the ground-up.

And the veteran leadership? The Sedins are now in their final contract season. They could be on their last gasps. So what should they do going forward? Really not much, except to do their best. Regardless of what happens to the contract talks, the Twins must focus on understanding Tort’s system and play to their strengths. It may be hard to believe, but if Torts wants to instill some defense into their game, they should be playing some penalty kills and (I do dare say it) block shots.

3. Treat others as you want to be treated

Since Torts soured his last few days coaching Henrik Lunqvist and the Rangers, he will have to start his clean slate in Vancouver with at least some positive outlook ahead. This may no longer be the team that it was in 2011, but it’s Tort’s team to cultivate and treat it how he wants to be treated.

Which brings us to the Luongo situation. While he’s not talking, Lou is certainly keeping his options open. He could show up to training camp or not. He could sit out for all he cares, he’s got enough money to support his family while he sits & waits for a trade or being bought out if it ever comes to that stage.

Mike Gills and the Canucks need to treat Lou the way he should be treated. That starts with mending the burning bridges they’ve caused when they made the decision to place Schneider as the number one goaltender in 2012. And yet with him gone to the Devils, the seething and stinging feeling may still linger with Luongo if the player-management relationship doesn’t get repaired quickly. Several summer trips from Vancouver to Miami will need to be made if next season could start fresh.

(Photo: Andy Martin Jr)

Now Luongo knows how Price feels, after Halak was to be the No. 1 (Photo: Andy Martin Jr)

It’s going to be an interesting ride for the Canucks in the newly-aligned 2013-14 season.

Join us again for the Days of Their Lives.

Peter Chau

Peter Chau

A former novice/atom player, timekeeper and fan of the game, Peter has lived and breathed hockey throughout his life, covering hockey happenings in Edmonton, Vancouver, and currently in Saskatchewan. He is now a contributing writer for the Hockey Writers.
Peter Chau
https://t.co/A8uJGJ3xxf via @vine @thw Ryan Whitney telling it like it is. #rogerssportsnet lies again - 24 hours ago
Peter Chau
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13 Comments

  1. Brad Richardson only had one goal in the entire 2012 Stanley Cup run. Do you call that contributing?

    Luongo bolted immediately without talking to the media after he was blown out 7-2 in Edmonton this year. How would you feel if you were embarrassed like that and had no support from EVERYONE in the organization?

    I’ve been more than fair with your critiques but again, you still haven’t followed Lou Holtz’s 3rd lesson when you’ve called the author clueless. When that became part of your first sentence, your level of commentary is considered “below the belt” almost to the point of troll-like. Thank you, Mr. Singh but I will not engage in a spat at your level. This discussion ends now.

  2. No doubt you like hockey, but you are clueless about the Canucks. Why don’t you try covering a team that you actually follow and whose games you actually watch?

    If you knew anything about the Canucks and weren’t just writing for the sake of it, then come up with some original analysis instead of parroting the idiots in Toronto who are equally clueless.

    The Canucks signed all of their pending UFAs during the season at cap friendly deals. top pairing dman Edler is getting 5 mill per year for 5 years compared to some of the plugs who have signed for more than that in free agency. Burrows is getting 4.5 mill as a first line winger for the next 4 years and Chris Higgins is getting 2.5 for 4 years compared to a plugger like David Clarkson who is signed for 7 years and 5 mill (never had 50 points in a season).

    You have no clue what you are talking about. the Team is well managed with the exception of the Luongo trade. In MG’s defense however, MG didn’t know what the rules would be coming out of the lockout for penalizing teams. He probably thought the league wouldn’t go after these deals as hard as they did.

    Bottom line get a clue before posting some re-hashed trash from Toronto buffoons.

    • Wow, thanks for that one. I’ll take the high road and assure you that this article isn’t about cap space whatsoever-it’s about what the Canucks have to do to steer their ship right going forward.

      You obviously haven’t taken Lou Holtz’ third lesson have you, about treating others how you want to be treated? If I don’t have a clue about the Canucks, then explain to me which team did the Canucks beat in the first round in the 1982 playoffs? Name one player who played for the Millionaires in 1915. And name the first captain of the Canucks before checking this on Google. I am a Canuck fan and I respectfully discount your claim that I am clueless. Enjoy your summer, or at least try to without getting into cap-space chatter.

      • Your blog post is full of ridiculous statements like, “Brad Richardson? Sure, he is a proven champion, but could he really have been a true contributor during that amazing Stanley Cup run with the Los Angeles Kings over a year ago?” or “the Canucks, the same team that has chewed him, spit him out, and is now begging for forgiveness”… What do you mean by a ‘true contributor’? or by the Canucks, ‘begging for forgiveness’? Of course Richardson contributed, just look at this avg TOI during the run and his other stats. MG made it clear Luo has two options, play or retire. That’s it. No one is begging for forgiveness. The Canucks didn’t chew the guy up and spit him out. They treated him as fair as they could. He is as much or more responsible for the current situation given his play, attitude and not waiving his NTC last summer when Toronto would have legitimately made a trade. Instead he held out for the Panthers who never came back with a meaningful offer of any kind. Instead of making sensational headlines and calling the Canucks a ‘soap opera’ you should just stick to facts. You don’t bother addressing any of my other points from my comment. You make all kinds of assertions in your blog and yet you don’t want any critical commentary. FYI, I answered your questions without going to google the Canucks. You tell me if you can name the first Canuck ever to make the all star team (1st or 2nd) without googling it?

  3. I’m sorry but really? You actually believe that if Lu was bought out they could sign bigger free agents? You do realize his cap hit is probably less than most of the free agents who just signed, all for atrocious contracts. Why on earth would the canucks want to put themselves in another situation like the one they have with luongo. Also, buying out Lu would have saved them maybe a mil and a half more cap space than trading schneider did – not gonna land u ufas

    • And who’s responsible for all of this? GM Mike Gillis, and to some extent Bettman for letting this happen to this point. I didn’t write the soap opera; it was set in place when cap money started flying out of the wazoo.

  4. Re Brad Richardson:

    “He might add some depth but only on the second or third line if Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa and Jason Garrison”

    Clearly your research is wrong. The defensemen you are are referring to do not play on the second or third line, and Brad Richardson is a centre.

  5. Forward Thinker says:

    I disagree with your analysis. The Canucks did not mistreat Luongo. They were not able to get value for a very good player so traded a player who is about Same other than age. He signed the contract and if it sucked , he was part of the equation that put it in place. It really does not hamper the Canucks much more than the Schnider one would have. (1.3 miooion difference in Cap hit).

    • True. Okay mistreat isn’t the right term. But where were the Canucks when Lou was lit up in Games 3,4,6 and 7, and when the Oilers embarrassed him 7-2 this year? (See http://vansunsportsblogs.com/2013/04/28/i-watched-this-game-canucks-at-edmonton-oilers-april-27-2013/). In those instances, the team in front hung him out to dry. Vigneault had (I hate to say it) mismanaged the goaltending issue when Schneider was doing well between the pipes.

      I support Lou, and he remains professional about this whole soap opera. When he leaves Vancouver in some way shape or form, I hope he finds the happiness deserves if he wins the Cup somewhere else. Until then, the Canucks need to show that they need him more than he needs them.

  6. Good article overall but someone should really do some proof-reading/fact-checking. Yannick Tremblay? Come on.

  7. tremblay = weber

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